The Labour Advisory Committee (LAC) has asked unions and employers to start internal discussions about wages this month itself, as per the detailed schedule approved by the LAC.
The 28-member LAC, comprising of representatives of the Ministry of Labour, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) and trade unions, had last month agreed to increase salaries of those employed in the garment factories on January 1 each year, with the decision on the amount of wage increase to be finalized in the fourth quarter of each preceding year.
The LAC has now approved a detailed schedule leading up to the pay rise, by adding a few details to the plan agreed last month.
As per the detailed schedule, the Government, trade unions and employers would hold separate internal meetings this month, which would be followed with a series of bilateral meetings involving representatives of unions and factory owners in August.
Subsequently, the Government would join in tripartite meeting in September, and if necessary a vote would be taken in October to finalize the new wage, which would come into effect from January 1, 2015.
So far, decisions on increasing minimum wages in Cambodian garment factories were taken at irregular intervals by the LAC, without using any particular formula for determining wage scales.
Last year, the LAC raised minimum monthly wage from US$ 80, including a $5 health bonus, to $95, which met with protests from workers who were demanding the wage to be doubled to $160. However, Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng subsequently intervened to raise the minimum wage to $100 per month, which was implemented from February 2014.
The exports of garments and textiles from Cambodia grew by 8.98 percent to $ 1.173 billion in January-March 2014, compared to exports of $1.076 billion made during the same period last year, according to the consolidated data released by the GMAC.